Hunger Games Trilogy

Hunger Games Trilogy

7/10 (=) [inclusive]

I was highly recommended this series by my dear not-genetically-related sister-in-law, and so when the whole trilogy went on sale on kobobooks.com I decided to pick it up, after all, my darling wife blessed me with a Kobo Touch for Xmas so, hey, why not; it was a great way to break in my Touch!

I was not as impressed as I thought I should be given all the hype. It’s garnered quite a bit of attention in the press and on the various book club message boards. Now, I am not a huge fan of the majority of YA fiction as, from what I have perceived, it doesn’t provide great role models for the youth who read them. And the Hunger Games, in my opinion, is no different. Katniss Everdeen, the main protagonist through all three novels, is a gifted and yet unbelievably dim and ignorant girl whom no one should try to be like. And really, only one character should ever be looked at favorably and that is Prim, Katniss’ sister. She is the true good one in this book, the shining beacon.

After reading all three, I decided I would do a little reading of some “professional” reviews of these books to see if I was missing something before I gave my own two cents worth. Here’s some snippets for you to read from some reviews:

While some young adult novels are content to read the way bad sci-fi movies look, both these books transcend their premĀ­ises with terrifyingly well-imagined futures and superb characterization. {John Green, New York Times}

I couldn’t agree less with this statement. This is only just a bit better than bad sci-fi the way a made-for-TV movie is just a bit better than a bad TV episode: it’s not really. Sure, this takes place far in the future, but not a terribly well imagined future; think Running Man but with teenagers. And the future in HG resembles just about every other dystopian future since Blade Runner invaded our imagination. And the characterization is not really that good. It sure isn’t superb. It’s ok, but the only reason you care for the main character is because you’re told to. There are only two characters that you can even remotely develop feelings about and one is Prim, Katniss’ sister and the other is Peeta, her fellow tribute from district 12. He actually is a good person for boys to model themselves after. But I wouldn’t go anywhere near to say that the characterization is superb.

Collins has done that rare thing. She has written a sequel that improves upon the first book. As a reader, I felt excited and even hopeful: could it be that this series and its characters were actually going somewhere? {Gabrielle Zevin, New York Times}

It is not that rare for a sequel to improve upon the first, at least in literature. If you read the rest of the article, you will see by this she simply means that the author has made the book even more page-turning. For me, this was not a good turn of events. Suzanne Collins has written the equivalent of a made-for-TV mini-series. Each chapter ends on a cliff-hanger, in the same way that a TV episode ends on a climactic note before a commercial; and each book ends on a bigger cliff-hanger the way a “to be continued…” episode ends in TV land. Wow. So she wrote a made-for-TV mini-series as a trilogy of novels. Yipee…*sigh*. I was annoyed at the lack of imagination that Collins used in being able to keep her reader wanting to read. It’s not good storytelling, it’s simply trite device after trite device.

After all is said and done, this would make a great mini-series on TV, like BSG or Game of Thrones, it should not be made into a movie, and it definitely should not be a critically acclaimed series of novels. I don’t care how many people compare The Hunger Games to high school social life, it’s a load of bull. You don’t go around killing, even metaphorically speaking, everyone else just to survive. You might form alliances, but not ones that end in death, ones that hopefully end in continued friendship. This book is thoroughly dys-tressing and poorly written. If you want a well written dystopian future go to The Handmaid’s Tale…it’s much MUCH better.

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